Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear ECOT appeal

From The Columbus Dispatch

The Ohio Supreme Court dealt ECOT another loss this week, refusing to hear its argument that the state Board of Education violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act when deciding to order repayments from the now-closed e-school.

In a major decision last week, the high court ruled 4-2 that the Department of Education was permitted under Ohio law to utilize log-in duration data to determine student enrollment that is the basis for state funding. The department had ordered ECOT to repay the state $80 million for students who failed to reach the 920 hours of minimum educational engagement required by the state.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow also had filed a lawsuit arguing that the Board of Education met illegally while deciding whether to formally order the repayment of taxpayer funds. The Franklin County Court of Appeals ruled against the school in February.

The court on Wednesday ruled 4-1 against accepting an appeal of that decision, which now stands. Justice Sharon Kennedy, who also ruled in ECOT’s favor last week, dissented. Justices Patrick DeWine and Judith French did not participate.

The legal options for ECOT founder Bill Lager, who made millions operating companies that served ECOT, are largely exhausted. He still has one lawsuit pending in Franklin County Common Pleas court, challenging the Board of Education’s administrative process, arguing the board has “taken inconsistent positions as to the nature of its own actions.”